What We're Watching: Angry India

What We're Watching: Angry India

Indians hit the streets – Large demonstrations have erupted in the Indian cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Kolkata over a new bill that offers religious minorities from neighboring countries a faster path to Indian citizenship, in practice excluding Muslims. Hundreds have been injured in clashes with police, and PM Narendra Modi has called for calm. Critics charge that any religious-based exception to current law violates the secular principles enshrined in India's constitution. Some warn that this is an attempt by the ruling party, the Hindu nationalist BJP, to bolster its political support by stoking anti-Muslim feeling among Hindus at a time of slowing economic growth.


Thais do too – This weekend, several thousand people in Bangkok protested the army-dominated government's moves to outlaw the opposition Future Forward party. The demonstrations were the largest since a coup in 2014 put an end to years of increasing tensions between "red shirt" Thais loyal to the exiled populist billionaire, and former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and "yellow shirts" loyal chiefly to the monarchy and the military. Future Forward, which is also led by a billionaire, the 41-year old Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, has loose ties to the red shirt movement but has cast itself chiefly as the leading voice of younger Thais fed up with the political deadlock and the army's influence over the state. The authorities allowed the protests over the weekend, but as Future Forward looks to hold larger demonstrations in the coming weeks, we're watching to see how the government – and other opposition groups – respond.

The greatest goal in protest history – Football/soccer fans will argue forever about who scored the greatest goal of all time on the pitch, but when it comes to street protests, this Lebanese guy's no-hands handling of a tear gas canister in mid-volley is up there with Zidane's 2002 one-touch beauty against Leverkusen. You have to see it to believe it.

What We're Asking

Sports and China's human rights abuses – Speaking of football, another professional sports club found itself enmeshed in global politics over the weekend, when Arsenal star Mesut Özil, who is of Turkish descent, blasted Beijing for its well-documented persecution of Muslim Uighurs, a Turkic ethnic group. In China, where Arsenal is immensely popular, state TV immediately dropped an Arsenal match broadcast. Arsenal quickly disavowed Özil's comments. The episode recalled the NBA's recent run-in with China over the same issue. So we ask you: should professional sports clubs or leagues use their visibility and reach to take a stand on major human-rights issues? Should players weigh in? Or should sports and politics be kept separate? Let us know here.

Carbon has a bad rep, but did you know it's a building block of life? As atoms evolved, carbon trapped in CO2 was freed, giving way to the creation of complex molecules that use photosynthesis to convert carbon to food. Soon after, plants, herbivores, and carnivores began populating the earth and the cycle of life began.

Learn more about how carbon created life on Earth in the second episode of Eni's Story of CO2 series.

As we enter the homestretch of the US presidential election — which is set to be the most contentious, and possibly contested, in generations — Americans are also voting on 35 seats up for grabs in a battle for the control of the Senate. The 100-member body is currently held 53-47 by the Republican Party, but many individual races are wide open, and the Democrats are confident they can flip the upper chamber of Congress.

Either way, the result will have a profound impact not only on domestic policy, but also on US foreign relations and other issues with global reach. Here are a few areas where what US senators decide reverberates well beyond American shores.

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On September 23, GZERO Media — in partnership with Microsoft and Eurasia Group — gathered global experts to discuss global recovery from the coronavirus pandemic in a livestream panel. Our panel for the discussion Crisis Response & Recovery: Reimagining while Rebuilding, included:

  • Brad Smith, President, Microsoft
  • Ian Bremmer, President and Founder, Eurasia Group & GZERO Media
  • Jeh Johnson, Partner, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP and former Secretary of Homeland Security.
  • John Frank, Vice President, UN Affairs at Microsoft
  • Susan Glasser, staff writer and Washington columnist, The New Yorker (moderator)

Special appearances by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde, and comedian/host Trevor Noah.

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Jon Lieber, who leads Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, offers insights on the Supreme Court vacancy:

Will Senate Republicans, who stopped a Supreme Court nomination in 2016, because it was too close to an election, pay a political price for the change in tactics this time around?

Not only do I think they won't pay a political price, I think in many cases, they're going to benefit. Changing the balance of power on the Supreme Court has been a career-long quest for many conservatives and many Republicans. And that's why you've seen so many of them fall in line behind the President's nomination before we even know who it is.

At this point, do Senate Democrats have any hope of stopping President Trump from filling the ninth seat on the Supreme Court?

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In a special GZERO Media livestream on global response and recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Eurasia Group & GZERO Media president Ian Bremmer discussed the difference between Europe's unified approach to economic stimulus and the deeply divided and political nature of the current conversation in the US. While initial stimulus support was bipartisan, there is little chance of Democrats and Republicans coming together again ahead of the November 3 presidential election. "It's red state versus blue state. President Trump's saying that coronavirus isn't so bad if you take the blue states out. He's president of the blue states, you can't take the blue states out," Bremmer told moderator Susan Glasser of The New Yorker.

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Panel: How will the world recover from COVID-19?

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